Trump capitulates to the NRA on gun reforms

Trump is still excited about things the NRA is happy about, and he's dropping stuff the NRA doesn't like

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published March 12, 2018 9:21AM (EDT)

President Donald Trump speaks during the National Rifle Association-ILA Leadership Forum, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)
President Donald Trump speaks during the National Rifle Association-ILA Leadership Forum, Friday, April 28, 2017, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

On Sunday, President Donald Trump made it clear that the only policies he is willing to consider in response to America's mass shooting epidemic are ones that won't alienate the NRA.

The White House proposed training some teachers to use guns to protect students, creating a Federal Commission on School Safety chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and shoring up weaknesses in the existing federal background checks system, according to The Washington Post. The National Education Association has opposed Trump's idea for arming teachers, although that hasn't stopped either Trump or gun control opponents from insisting that doing so could prevent another mass shooting like the one that occurred last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Conspicuously absent from Trump's proposals was the idea of raising the minimum purchasing age for guns like the AR-15 from 18 to 21, an idea that Trump had supported before backing off due to pressure from the NRA. Although the idea is technically expected to be broached by DeVos' commission, it is unlikely that the Republican Party will risk angering the NRA by taking that proposal seriously. When DeVos was confronted about the fact that her proposed plan doesn't include Trump's initial suggestion, during a "Today Show" appearance on Monday morning, she defended it by saying that her plan was the "first step in a more lengthy process" and insisted that "everything is on the table" and that "we have to get much broader than just talking about guns and a gun issue."

DeVos was similarly vague when she initially with reporters discussed her future role.

"We are committed to working quickly because there’s no time to waste. No student, no family, no teacher and no school should have to live the horror of Parkland or Sandy Hook or Columbine again," DeVos told reporters during a conference call on Sunday, according to Politico.

In terms of formal endorsements for specific policies, Trump was only willing to commit to two uncontroversial and modest measures: The STOP School Violence Act, which provides grants to states that are working on plans to stop school violence, and the FIX NICS Bill, which wants to strengthen current background checks, according to ABC News.

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Armed Teachers Donald Trump Guns In Schools Nra Parkland School Shooting